Tag Archives: Richard Rhor

Beyond Gender

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colo...

Julian of Norwich sometimes refers to God as Father and sometimes refers to Jesus as Mother. Gender means almost nothing to her because she is beyond that. There’s something deeper than gender. As alluring and as important as gender is, as it is our metaphor held in our body, it is not our ontological identity. It is not our foundational, essential truth. Your gender is not the True Self. It’s part of the False Self. That’s what Jesus is referring to when he says, “…in heaven, they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mark 12:25). But because gender is so deep in our early conditioning, in many of our lives we cling to it until the very end.

Male and female are most different at their most immature levels and most alike at their most mature levels. When you have matured to the point where you are beyond the dualisms that our dualistic minds have imposed on reality, then you know you are children of the resurrection. You are children of light and there is no male or female, as both Paul and the Gospel of Thomas say. People who already begin to experience such unity in this world will usually find it very easy to be compassionate toward lesbian, gay, and transgendered people, because they know that the True Self, who we objectively are in God, is prior and superior to any issues of gender, culture, or sexuality. Gender is important, but it is still an “accidental” part of the human person and not its substance.

The object and goal of all spirituality is finally the same for all genders: union, divine love, inner aliveness, soul abundance, forgiveness of offenses, and generous service to the neighbor and the world. Here “there is no distinction…between male and female” (Galatians 3:28). Mature Christian spirituality leads us toward such universals and essentials. Yet people invariably divide and argue about nonessentials!

Gratefully, Christ “holds all things in unity…the fullness is found in him, and all things are reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and on earth” (Colossians 1:17, 19-20)—including everything sexual that seems to always be unwhole or split in halves (sectare=to cut or divide).

6 Comments

Filed under Julian of Norwich, Richard Rhor

Practicing the Ripening

I share this article from The Center for Contemplation and Action.

A ripening mind and heart might simply be described as a capacity for non-dual consciousness and contemplation. Many might just call it growth in compassion, but surely no growth in compassion is likely unless one learns how to forgive as a very way of life, and to let go of almost everything as we first imagined it had to

English: Blackberries in a range of ripeness, ...

be. This is possible as we grow in the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian notion of faith, where not-knowing (the apophatic way) must be carefully paired with knowing (the kataphatic way). The Judeo-Christian tradition balances our so-called knowing with trust, patience, allowing, waiting, humility, love, and forgiveness, which is very nearly the entire message and surely the core message necessary for any possibility of actual ripening. Otherwise, we all close down, and history freezes up with all of its hurts, memories, and resentments intact. A non-dual way of knowing in the moment gives us a life process and not simply momentary dualistic answers, which always grow old because they are never totally true.

My guidance is a simple reminder and recall to what we will be forced to learn by necessity and under pressure anyway—the open-ended way of allowing and the deep meaning that some of us call faith. To live in trustful faith is to ripen, it is almost that simple. Let’s start practicing now, early in our life, so we do not have to take a crash course in our final years, weeks, days, and minutes of our lives. The best ripening happens over time, lots of time.

—-Richard Rhor

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Living, Devotional, Richard Rhor

The Eternal Now


I share with you some words of Richard Rhor taken from “Living the Eternal Now.” I hope they speak to you.

Jesus’ primary metaphors for the Eternal Now are “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven.” He is trying to tell you that there is a place where you can live connected to the Real and to the Eternal. That place is simply the here and now, which always feels like nothing, like nowhere (now-here), but is where everything always happens! So be sure to be here—and not somewhere else!

The reason we can trust the Now so much is because of the incarnation and because of the divine Indwelling. The Word has become flesh, God has entered into the human, God is here and everywhere!

John Duns Scotus, one of the great Franciscan teachers, said that God did not create genus and species; God only created what Scotus called “thisness,” in Latin “haecceity.” He said that until you can experience each thing in its specific “thisness,” you will not easily experience the joy and freedom of divine presence. In other words, I can’t be present to all women in general. I’ve got to be present to this woman, right here, right now, in her specificity and particularity, and maybe even her eccentricity. Might that be what love means?

In that way, the here and now has the power to become the gateway and the breakthrough point to the universal. The concrete, the specific, the physical, the here and now—when you can be present to it in all of its ordinariness—becomes the gateway to the Eternal. I call this the very foundational Christian principle of Incarnation. It is the great and unique insight that we offer to all world religions, yet we ourselves have often not celebrated this immense breakthrough.

Leave a comment

Filed under Richard Rhor

Non-Dual Consciousness

Non-dual or contemplative consciousness is not the same as being churchy or reflective or introverted. Unfortunately this is the way the word is often used even by people who should know better. Contemplation is a panoramic, receptive awareness whereby you take in all that the situation, the moment, the event offers without eliminating anything. That does not come naturally. You have to work at it and develop practices whereby you recognize your compulsive and repetitive patterns.

It seems we are addicted to our need to make distinctions and judgments, which we actually call “thinking”! Most of us think we are our thinking, yet almost all thinking is compulsive and habitual. And educated people are just as bad as the uneducated, sometimes even worse.

That is why all forms of meditation and contemplation are teaching you a way of quieting the dualistic “thinking” mind. After a while you see that this kind of thinking is not going to get you very far, simply because reality is not all about you and your preferences! And frankly, the universe is not all about any one of us, but only all of us together and with God.

Non-dual consciousness is about receiving and being present to the moment and to the now exactly as it is, without judgment, without analysis, without critique, without your ego deciding whether you like it or whether you don’t like it. It is a much more holistic knowing, where your mind, heart, soul, and senses are open and receptive to the moment just as it is. You are not dividing the field of the moment (and eliminating anything that threatens your ego), but holding it all together.

The non-dual, contemplative mind is a whole new mind! With it, you can stand back and simply observe the self and the event from the standpoint of the “stable witness,” or what Christians would call the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16). Now you can laugh or weep over your little dramas and dances, without being attached to them or hating them. You can look at yourself and others calmly and compassionately because you are able to see things as they are in themselves and not from the viewpoint of how they affect you.

Adapted from Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening by Richard Rhor

Leave a comment

Filed under Richard Rhor

Soul Intimacy

The soul defines itself by expansion and inclusion-not by saying “no,” but by offering a kind of courageous, risky “yes”: “Yes, I am like everybody else, capable of the same good and the same bad. They are all my brothers and sisters.” The soul knows that we are all equally naked underneath our clothes. Can you feel the scariness in that? When you allow the face of the other, the opinion of the other, the worldview of the other, to break through your barriers and boundaries, there is always a bit of fear, as in the first moments of nakedness or intimacy.

I can see why Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). He is talking, Homeless1first, about life in this world. On the unconscious level, I know that true intimacy with anything is going to change me. And if there is one thing that the ego hates more than anything else, is to change. I know that if I keep meditating, it is going to change my worldview, my priorities, and my preferences. It will be a new world, and I am comfortably hunkered down in this old one. It is a wonder that anyone continues the dangerous journey of prayer, step-by-step, into divine and soul intimacy.

Adapted from 
Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer

By Richard Rhor

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Necessary Humiliations

I share this piece from the Center for Action and Contemplation.

By Richard Rhor

Your Loyal Soldier tells you to be socially vigilant: How am I coming across? Will people like me? Will this be acceptable? Will this help me succeed? Your Loyal Soldier can serve you well by giving you some social niceties and protection. But after you’ve lived out of these niceties for years, they become your idealized self, your persona, your chosen public image, your False Self. To protect this image, all the contrary and negative aspects of yourself have to go underground, hidden from others and even from your own awareness. These forgotten and denied qualities make up what many call the “shadow” self.

Frankly, much of the movement from the first half of life to the second half of life is shadowboxing. Shadow work involves facing the negative part of yourself that you’re not proud of, like those hateful thoughts that you have once in a while that you hope nobody knows about. Or recognizing the log in your own eye when you’re confronted with the speck in someone else’s eye. This is humiliating, necessary work in every human life.

When you get your False Self (and the Loyal Soldier who is protecting this self) out of the way, the soul stands revealed. The soul, or True Self, cannot be created or worked for. It is, and it is already. The soul is God’s “I AM” continued in you, the part of you that already knows, desires, and truly seeks God. Ironically, the Loyal Soldier that you mistook for God actually defends you from God! I suspect this is exactly what the Dominican Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1327) meant when he said, “I pray God to rid me of ‘God’

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living, Richard Rhor

The Paschal Mystery

by Richard Rhor

By the grace of God, saints and holy ones of every century still got the point of the transforming power of the path of descent, but only if they were willing to go through those painful descents that Catholics called the “way of the cross,” which Jesus called “the sign of Jonah,” which Augustine called the “paschal mystery,” or the Apostles Creed called “the descent into hell.” Without these journeys, there’s something you simply don’t understand about the nature of God or the nature of the soul.

“Can you drink of the cup that I am going to drink?” Jesus said to James and John, who still wanted roles. “We can!” they responded, and he said, to paraphrase, “Indeed, you will and you must, but roles are not my concern” (see Matthew 20:22-23). Religion is largely populated by people afraid of hell; spirituality begins to make sense to those who have been through hell—that is, who have drunk deeply of life’s difficulties.

Christians speak of the “paschal mystery,” the process of loss and renewal that was lived and personified in the death and raising up of Jesus. We can affirm that belief in ritual and song, as we do in the Eucharist, but until people have lost their foundation and ground, and then experienced God upholding them so that they come out even more alive on the other side, the expression “paschal mystery” is little understood and not essentially transformative.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Journey, Lent, Richard Rhor

The “I”

“It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.”

― Richard Rohr

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Richard Rhor